This reminds me when I had my sign shop in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area back from 1975 til 2001 . . . although my plant was always in the Virginia suburbs, I did a lot of my business in the nation's capital . . . It seems the bulk of my income was generated from the K street corridor. The money seemed to originate right there, almost like it was being printed in the basements in those buildings . . .
Anyway, almost every trip downtown you were acosted by panhandlers as you approached an entrance to a nice office building or in front of a classy restaurant as you were entering OR exiting these establishments . . . . . and sometimes AGRESSIVE panhandlers abounded. . .
For you people out there who do NOT know what aggressive panhandling is . . . here's my definition of it: The poor people would actually get in front of you so that you bump in to them or they actually put their hands on you and sometimes grab your arm . . . I was always an easy mark . . I kept change and plenty of one dollar bills handy . . . it was much easier and safer to just give them what you can and then get the hell out . . as quickly as you can.
The scariest thing that happened to me . . . one time in about 1996-97 , I was downtown on a Saturday about one PM . . . I had my Polaroid and I was going to take a picture of a hotel front entrance and get some measurements for a temporary name change, I think they were changing from a Hilton establishment to another hotel chain.
The one time I had forgotten to have ready some handy spare change for the street people, . . . I remember that I only had a ten and a twenty and no anything else in my front pockets. .. Maybe I would be lucky that day.
I was walking alone . . in the middle of the day . . . downtown D.C. . . . there were plenty of people around, but in this case the nearest people where I was walking were about 20 to 30 feet away. This might as well be 200 to 300 feet away it seemed . . .
As I'm walking, a guy walks quickly up to me, jaywalking to confront me . . . he looks like a MIKE TYSON DOUBLE . . and he looked manacing . . . he's holding hands with a little black kid about six years old . . . he says, " Hey, I came down from Pennsylvania looking for work, do you have some change so I can get something to eat ? " ( Always thinking of a quick one-liner, I almost said, Hell, I'm going to Pennsylvania tomorrow to look for work myself !, No kidding ! ) But my common sense kicked in and decided this was not the guy to test my one liner on.
I thought to myself, great, no problem, I reached into my pocket and pulled the ten dollar bill . . . out . . . partially, accidentally, just slightly . . I knew then I was doomed, I needed that ten dollar bill, but it was too late . . I shoved it back into my pocket and he grabs my arm and says, " Hey , I saw that ten, lemme have it! "
I mumbled to myself , ( in my mind ), where in the hell am I ? What country am I in ? . . What time is it ? ! I pulled my arm away from his grip and started to walk fast and the guy is right behind me dragging his kid . . it was escalating . . I noticed as I was almost running, and then I actually was running quickly along a transit bus about to make a stop at the bus stop . . . I quickly bucked the line and got aboard the bus . . the Tyson look-alike glared at me from behind the crowd and was waving his arms madder than hell . . Man , I had a helluva time trying to explain what happened to the bus driver . . I stayed on the bus for about a mile, then I got off and walked slowly back to where my car was . . exactly where " TYSON " was waiting for me . . .
When I got close to where it all happened, I saw my car parked exactly where I left it on a side street, and ran like hell, opened the door as quickly as I could, locked all the doors, started the engine, and drove quickly to my favorite watering hole right across the Key bridge to the Marriott hotel.
I slid quietly on my favorite bar stool that was waiting for me, smiled to the bartender . . stuck my hand up and mumbled: the usual . . "A double Jameson's Irish Whiskey on the rocks, Rick. "
Rick smiles and inquires, " How's it goin' Roy ? "
I smiled and said " If things were going any better, people would think I was cheatin' ! " ( I found out a long time ago, that THAT was the best way to forget something like what I had just gone through ) .
I don't know, but it works for me.
" It doesn't hurt to be optimistic. You can always cry later. "
- Lucimar Santos de Lima
" The mere sense of living is joy enough. "
- Emily Dickinson
" The person who pursues revenge should dig two graves. "
- Old proverb
Someone once said something like this: " Just being alive is great. "
I think he said it all.